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Sycamore Music Boosters name Hall of Fame inductees

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014 5:30 a.m. CST

Sycamore Music Boosters has named the 2014 Sycamore High School Music Hall of Fame inductees. They are Peter Benson, Kara Eubanks and Lori McMillion Grant.

A ceremony to induct the honorees will be held at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 8 in the Sycamore High School Auditorium. The brief program will include a formal introduction of each inductee and may include musical performances and short tribute speeches.

The Sycamore High School All-State musicians also will be recognized during the ceremony. The updated 2014 trophy case located across the hall from the auditorium will be unveiled and the program will conclude with a light reception. The public is invited to attend.

Peter Benson is a 1996 Sycamore High School graduate who began playing piano at age 7. Throughout his high school career, he was a member of the jazz ensemble, jazz choir, concert choir, madrigal singers, and the marching band drumline. He was selected for the IMEA District jazz ensembles his sophomore, junior and senior years, being named the No. 1 jazz pianist in the district. He was selected as pianist for the IMEA All State Jazz Band his junior year. His senior year he was selected for the All State Honors Jazz, being the top pianist in the state. 

Benson attended Northern Illinois University for two years and then went on to earn his Bachelor Degree in classical piano performance from Northeastern Illinois University.  While at NIU, he studied with the great Chicago jazz pianist Willie Pickens. He earned a Master of Music in Jazz Studies degree from the DePaul University School of Music. He is currently one of Chicago’s Hammond B3 premiere jazz organists. Peter plays frequently at The Jazz Showcase and Andy’s Jazz Club with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra.

Kara Eubanks graduated Sycamore High School in 2000. She began playing the violin at age 6. Throughout high school she maintained an active schedule as a violinist performing in the high school orchestra, musical pit orchestras, SHS madrigal dinners, NIU’s Community School of the Arts Sinfonia, NIU’s Philharmonic, and was an IMEA All District and All State musician. 

Eubanks began her undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois, and then transferred to NIU’s School of Music, where she earned a Bachelor of Music Performance degree and a Master of Music Performance degree. She is currently working on her Doctorate in Music Arts degree at the City University of New York. Her orchestral and chamber music performance resume is extensive and includes such ensembles and performances as the Chicago Civic Orchestra, Fontainebleau Chamber Orchestra and DiCapo Opera Orchestra. Additionally, Kara frequently performs contemporary and rock music. She is on a featured download for MTV.com, has been featured on numerous occasions on NPR with the The Gunshy, and has played on numerous other recordings.

Lori McMillion Grant, Legacy Award recipient, is a 1985 SHS graduate. Although she started playing violin as a child, it was her sophomore year in high school that her orchestra director encouraged her to play the double bass. While in high school, she was involved in a variety of music groups and activities as a bassist, pianist and vocalist. She played double bass in the orchestra; sang alto and mezzo-soprano in the concert choir, madrigal singers and swing choir; performed on auxiliary percussion in the marching band and was drum sergeant; had leading roles in numerous high school musical productions; was bassist in the pit orchestra for spring musicals; and was a piano accompanist for the choir and numerous solo and ensemble contests.  Grant performed in choirs and orchestras at IMEA District and All State Music Festivals. She was selected for the IMEA All State Honors Choir as an alto. In addition, she was selected as a vocalist for the U.S. Jazz Choir-Jazz Abroad European Tour, received the National School Orchestra Award, and was the 1985 recipient of the Music Booster college scholarship.

She earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree in 1989 from Ohio State University, and went on to earn her Master of Arts in Educational Leadership in 2009 from Aurora University. She has an extensive background as a music teacher and choral conductor, and is now in her 23rd year as an educator. As a middle school and high school choral director in the Sycamore, DeKalb, Batavia and Kaneland school districts, Grant has now taught thousands of students in concert, chamber and treble choirs, madrigal singers, jazz choirs and show choirs. In addition to her teaching and conducting, she has maintained an active role as a performer and advocate for music programs and other organizations in northern Illinois.    

These inductees also will be honored at the annual A Note to Remember event on Feb. 8 at Blumen Gardens from 7 to 11 p.m. Tickets are still available for this event; call 815-751-8388. For more information, visit www.sycamoremusicboosters.com.

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